Category Archives: Teaching

Acceleration: Its Time Has Come

In ‘A Nation Empowered’, there are 20 different types of academic acceleration identified. Most have been available for decades, but may prove beneficial today more than ever. Implementing acceleration now is good policy. Academic acceleration encompasses early in and out approaches to education; grade or subject skipping; mastery-based learning; independent study (self-paced education); and dual enrollment. Additional types of academic acceleration include multi-age classes; curriculum compacting; telescoping curriculum; and credit by exam.

In a field that places so much importance on research-based evidence, it is difficult to understand the skepticism that surrounds academic acceleration. Isolated instances of poorly planned acceleration too often make the headlines … in sharp contrast to the enormous amount evidence to the contrary. In fact, not accelerating a student whose situation indicates a need and willingness to do so has more negative repercussions than any perceived issues with acceleration. These students face disengagement due to boredom and higher drop-out rates.

When schools begin to re-open, budgets are going to be stretched to the brink. We’ve already begun to see gifted education programs being slashed from school budgets. These students’ needs aren’t going anywhere. The effects of being out of school for so many months have been devastating for a majority of students. The perceived need for extensive remediation will exacerbate the GT students’ need for greater depth and complexity. At all grade levels, K-College, it makes sense to allow students to progress through the system at their own speed with any means at their disposal … early entrance & graduation, distance learning, self-pacing, etc.

Best practices in academic acceleration starts with planning, planning, planning … what’s available, student buy-in, a strong commitment to the end-game, & the need to address the consequences of not making it available. Questions to ask before beginning acceleration – does the school have an adequate K12 infrastructure in place to support acceleration, how will acceleration benefit the student, & is there an exit-strategy if it isn’t working. Best practices include choosing appropriate assessments, a written acceleration plan with decisive objectives/goals, addressing academic gaps, and periodic follow-up.

Parents are often the first to assess their child’s potential. To facilitate the process of requesting consideration for acceleration, it is imperative that parents document early abilities, task and work completion, and outside test results. The first point of contact with the school should be the classroom teacher. Parents can request test data or appropriate testing, what resources are available, and to have the formation of a formal assessment team. Parents should document all communication with the school, take notes at all meetings, and be prepared to advocate with research-based evidence for all necessary services for their child.

Gifted education has long been cited for glaring inequities in how students are placed in gifted programs. In light of issues highlighted by the sudden onset of the coronavirus, it would seem a good time to reevaluate the process. Likewise, there has never been a problem with accelerating exceptional talent when it comes to sports. Perhaps it’s time to take a page out of the athletic playbook? Recent state programs that automatically enroll qualified students in advanced coursework have met with high levels of success and are far more reflective of the racial and socioeconomic makeup of their schools.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Early to the Starting Line: Acceleration Begins at Kindergarten (Podcast 31:27)

Academic Acceleration (YouTube 5:35)

College at 13: Young, Gifted, and Purposeful (book)

Acceleration: Topical Research Series #1

Academic Acceleration for Advanced Learners

Academic Acceleration Can Help Students Whose Needs Are Not Being Met (pdf)

NAGC: Parent TIP Sheet – Acceleration (pdf 2017)

Essential Elements: Acceleration & Differentiation for Gifted K-12 Students with Dr. Broderick (YouTube 20:28)

Belin Blank: Gifted Education 101: The Basics

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject

Belin Blank Chautauqua Classes Summer 2020 via ZOOM

Belin Blank FLOW Webinars

Guidebooks for Parents and Educators

Why am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

20 Types of Acceleration

Advocating for Acceleration: Suggestions for Parents

Acceleration for Gifted Students

How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Must Run in the Family: PEG Program Gets Its First Legacy Student

Academic Acceleration: Is It Right for My Child?

AUS: Acceleration of Gifted Students Procedure

Laddering Up: Academic Acceleration

Learning Acceleration Guide Planning for Acceleration in the 2020- 2021 School Year (pdf)

Social-emotional Characteristics of Gifted Accelerated and Non-accelerated Students in the Netherlands

BISD: Advanced Academics Acceleration

Pros and Cons of Skipping a Grade

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

NAGC PHP: Advocating for Grade-Based Acceleration (pdf)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Future of Education after the Pandemic

 

This week at #gtchat, we were joined by guests, Jessica Torres and Andi McNair to discuss the future of education after COVID19. No one knows exactly when schools will reopen, but most are working on plans to do so safely and as soon as possible.

Public health including physical and mental health issues will need to be addressed if school reopenings are to be successful. Parents, students, teachers & staff need to feel school environments are safe to reenter. Consideration of health & hygiene measures must include widespread testing, vigilance regarding student and staff health (stay home when sick), wearing masks, frequent hand washing/sanitization, and physical distancing. Mental health considerations must be taken seriously upon reopening. Students and teachers experienced the trauma of sudden closings, lack of closure of previous school year, and some may have faced personal loss due to COVID19.

Returning to school will be traumatic for most students. Apprehension of socializing with friends & teachers, worry about coronavirus, and uncertainty about the future will all play a role in how they adjust to a new normal. School counselors and teachers may have to deal with students returning to school from home environments that were less than ideal. Open and frank conversations will need to take place with students. School activities will necessarily change in the near term and it will be a difficult transition for many students – limited or no sports, band, dances, performances, field trips, recess, PE classes, or being to interact with friends.

Instructional concerns will be tantamount to summer slide on steroids for many students who normally need extra supports, lacked access to tech to continue learning outside school, or who were personally affected by COVID19. All students will need a modicum of grace. It will take time to assess where a student is at academically, the need for remediation or grade acceleration, and to plan for inevitable return to social isolation due to virus resurges. Teachers will need to pre-assess, vertically align standards between grades, compact the curriculum, consider using IEPs for all students, and utilize differentiation. Schools may need to add after school programs for remediation.

We will address specific goals for gifted education next week, but we all need to consider this crisis as an opportunity to rethink the possibilities of improving education rather than just returning to the status quo. In recent years, ideas such as Andi’s genius hour, flipped classrooms, global classroom virtual connections, PBL, and competency-based learning have all been on the front-burners for educators. It is inevitable that blended learning will need to be increasingly used to meet the needs of all learners; especially during the next few years until a resolution is found to disruption of education due to coronavirus.

How can schools work to more powerfully engage their parents in the educational process? Parents are now co-teachers in the era of #COVID19. Communication is more important than ever. Schools need to educate parents on how to educate their children during school outages. Parents should be considered team members. They will need to be assured that their children are safe on school campuses, educational goals are in place for their child to be successful & be made aware of contingency plans for reoccurring school-at-home situations.

What will be the most significant change to K-12 schools in the next year? K-12 schools will need to rely on robust data and learning management systems to improve educational continuity. Secure & reliable video-conferencing systems will be essential. (Getting Smart) Schools will be re-imagined through collaboration with students (student voice), flexibility of hybrid learning, innovation in information sharing, and re-configuring class size as well as classroom logistics.

A transcript of the chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

A New Normal in Education Instructional Implications after #COVID19 (Webinar 57:45)

Forging a Path Forward How to Design a Responsive Return Plan (pdf)

School Leaders Debate Solutions for an Uncertain 2020-21

American Academy of Pediatrics: COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Return to In-person Education in Schools

AAP Guidance on School Reopening Addresses Physical and Mental Health, Instructional Time

9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen

How to Reopen Schools: A 10-Point Plan Putting Equity at the Center

What Comes Next for Public Schooling

A Few Schools Reopen, But Remote Learning Could Go on for Years in U.S.

AFT Launches Landmark Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities

A Blueprint for Back to School

Searching for the Other Side of the Tunnel: Leading through #COVID-19

Survey: Teachers Favor Moving on to Next Year’s Content in the Fall

It’s Time to Accept that the Point of School Has Changed

Teaching and Learning after COVID-19

What Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic will Shape the Future of Education?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has Changed Education Forever – This is How

Ed Week: COVID-19: Report Offers ‘Blueprint’ for Reopening Schools and Beyond

S.C. Educators Considers Safest Way for Kids to Return to School in Summer, Fall

After The Crisis Half-Time High School May Be Just What Students Need (subscription req’d)

Cybraryman’s The New Normal Pages

There’s Always Next Year: 3 Ideas to Recover Lost Educational Opportunities Post-Coronavirus Epidemic

The Coming Mental-Health Crisis

A Perfect Time to End Our STEM Obsession: 3 Ideas for Teaching Critical Thinking At Home during (And After) The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Case for Critical Thinking: The COVID-19 Pandemic And an Urgent Call To Close The Critical Thinking Gap In Education

Virtual Reality Classrooms (YouTube 1:54)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Photos courtesy of Jessica Torres and Andi McNair.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Resources You Can Use Now for Educating a GT Child at Home

 

This week we thanked the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) for their 8 years of support!

 

It has been a stressful time to be alive as we learn to live in a new reality in a world responding to a global Pandemic. #gtchat is a free resource provided by TAGT for the entire gifted community. This week we have attempted to bring together and provide resources for parents and teachers who have suddenly faced educating their children and students at home.

What are some non-tech resources for educators suddenly contemplating teaching online? Non-tech resources are those dealing with content and curriculum rather than simply delivery systems. Many schools were closed suddenly with little or no advanced warning. This has complicated the process of switching to teaching online for many of the world’s teachers.

What technology resources cam be utilized for distance learning and keeping in touch? Technology resources involve delivering instruction online. Many platforms were already in use prior to quarantines. Please see below for possible resources. These resources are informational; not recommendations.

How do we teach our children about coronavirus (COVID19)? It is important to inform students about coronavirus, but it is also vitally important to make sure the information is factual and the latest available. Many GT students may be better informed than their parents and teachers. Listen to them, but push back on misinformation.

The social-emotional implications of long-term quarantining will affect both children and adults. It has long been posited that gifted children have social-emotional needs. Fortunately, this provides many resources already available to parents and educators.

What unique challenges are faced having GT children at home? This is a personal issue for parents. Every child is different and will respond long-term quarantine and time out of school in a variety of way. One unique challenge to be considered is asynchronous development – a child’s reaction to the current situation may not reflect their biological age, i.e., a younger child displaying feelings of invincibility usually seen in teens.

Some school districts have been heroic in their efforts to continue the education of their students while they are at home. Unfortunately, some states have blocked home education initiatives. Parents are having to deal with multiple aspects of a sudden quarantine; kids indoor all the time, working at home or finding childcare, and then the worry of providing their education as well.

We invite you to join us weekly on Twitter. Together we will get through this! A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11AM AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Parents:

Duke TIP Resources for Families during Quarantine

Duke TIP Home Alone – Part 2

Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents

Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings (Google Docs)

From Home Education to Higher Education

2,500 Museums You Can Now Visit Virtually

Simple and Fun Non-screen Activities that Children Can do at Home (Medium)

Totally Awesome LEGO Challenge Calendar

Scholastic Learn at Home

Storyline Online

The Best Homeschooling Resources Online

Educators:

Distance Learning During The Coronavirus Pandemic: Equity And Access Questions For School Leaders

KAGE: Virtual Gifted and Talented Enrichment Support Materials (pdf)

CMU CS Academy (free hs computer science curriculum)

Mashup Math: Free Printable Math Worksheets

Appropriate Reading Instruction for Gifted Students

Resources for Remote Learning

How Teachers Can Navigate School Closures Due to the Coronavirus

School Closure Planning: Free, Easy Science for Remote Learning

A Healthy Reminder to Educators During School Closures

Teachers and Homeschoolers: Let’s Be Kinder to Parents in this Pandemic

G/T:

TAGT: GT Resources for School Closures

NAGC: Resources for Educators & Parents During COVID-19

MENSA: At-home Learning Resources for Kids

Renzulli Learning Announces Its Collaborative Distance Learning System Now Available Free to Schools Worldwide

Australian Association for Education of the Gifted & Talented – Natural Disasters: Supporting Gifted Children during Difficult Times – A Guide for Parents and Teachers (pdf)

KAGE: Virtual Gifted Resources for Gifted and Talented Enrichment for Everyone Affected by COVID-19

Gifted and Talented Enrichment Support Materials (Google Doc)

#COVID19:

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: COVID19

Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte – Coronavirus: Everything You Need to Know (all things related to coronavirus and children)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Research: Free Medical, Social, and Behavioral Science Articles from SAGE Publishing

Fact Sheet: Coronaviruses: SARS, MERS, and 2019-nCoV (pdf)

Origin and Evolution of Pathogenic Coronaviruses

Best Practice – Online Teaching:

COVID-19: Resources for Educators

Edmodo: Distance Learning Toolkit

5 Tips to Prepare for a Remote Classroom Due to Coronavirus

CAN: Ontario Teachers Hosting Virtual Lessons as COVID-19 Keeps Students Out of Class

Social/Emo:

Too Much Worry – How do we help our gifted kids?

Teaching Life Skills to Gifted Children at School and at Home

SIG: Activities for Gifted Students while Practicing Social Distancing

SIG: Connectivity for Gifted Students in the Age of Social Distancing

Resources chat participants:

Overcoming Obstacles – Life Skills Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School — Free Now and Forever

Google: Teach from Home

Getting Through: Supporting Learners as they Transition to School at Home (parents)

On the Move to Online Learning

During Coronavirus, a Teacher Describes the Scramble to Go Digital

Science Tots

Calendar of Virtual Field Trips for Families March/April 2020 (Google Docs)

Making Connections: Genius Hour at Home

Short Story Exploration (pdf)

Kansas Continuous Learning 2020

Davidson Gifted: Is Your Gifted Child Ready for Online Learning?

KidNuz

Prepare for Distance Learning with Newsela

Genius Hour (At Home)

Davidson Academy Online 2020 Open House – Technology

Sprite’s Site: Wrensday

Cybraryman’s Educational Web Sites

BBC: A History of the World

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Beyond Self: Engaging in Community Service

 

Community-service learning is the first step in service learning which is followed by community exploration and action. It is the phase where students begin to be involved; generally by volunteering. When students engage in community-service learning, they begin by perceiving issues and then taking the first steps to become involved in mitigating these issues. It is generally tied to the overall school curriculum and produces a high level of service. Increased learning comes as students further explore the issues and take action.

Community service is an excellent fit for GT students who often question the validity and importance of what they are being taught. It can increase personal responsibility, self-awareness, and empathy. It is authentic learning based on real-life experiences that students care about. It can provide a challenging curriculum to reinvigorate students who felt they weren’t learning anything new in school. Community service provides GT students the opportunity to engage in independent work, work at a much faster rate than regular classroom activities, and be exposed to more in-depth content. It exposes students to professionals in the field, research practice, and application of strategies to solve real world problems; often for the first time.

When should community-service learning be introduced to students? Even very young GT students can become involved in and benefit from community-service learning. They need opportunity to investigate interests and act creativity in response to those interests. Community-service learning is a way to introduce basic academic skills to students as early as kindergarten and to develop higher-level thinking as well as working in cooperation with other students. It is a vehicle to develop and exercise leadership skills and self-management skills involving social, moral, and ethical issues for K-12 GT students.

What strategies can be used to incorporate community-service learning in the curriculum? All aspects of community-service learning should include the student – from initial brainstorming of topics, to planning projects, and finally implementing eventual activities. It is a good idea to require some form of community service; either through curriculum modifications or in gifted student’s IEPs. Be cognizant of the need that experiences be authentic and grant credit. Interdisciplinary courses involving community service as well as unique service courses involving student government, leadership, and conflict management are all ways to incorporate this type of learning.

How should community service be assessed? Students should demonstrate how they utilized their time and produce evidence of learning when being assessed for community-service learning. They can present problems addressed, research conducted, and solutions found while participating in community-service learning. Students may also be required to show how they participated through engagement vehicles (contacts made, speeches, videos, etc.), journals, awards received, or mentor evaluations.

Parents can have a profound effect on a child’s willingness or even eagerness to participate in community-service learning as role models and by providing opportunities to explore special interests. They can support programs that encourage community service in their child’s school. Parents can serve as partners in participation by supporting their child’s efforts to engage in community service and as facilitators for class-wide projects.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Community Activism as Curriculum: How to Meet Gifted Students’ Needs While Creating Change

Serving Others Hooks Gifted Students on Learning

Service Learning and Gifted Students

Service Learning: A Win-Win for Your Students and the Local Community (pdf)

Student Voices, Global Echoes: Service-Learning and the Gifted (pdf)

“That’s Empowering!”: The Influence of Community Activism Curriculum on Gifted Adolescents’ Self-Concepts (pdf)

Vision With Action: Developing Sensitivity to Societal Concerns in Gifted Youth

Learning In Deed: The Power of Service-Learning for American Schools (Full Report)

A Case Study of Community Action Service Learning on Young, Gifted Adolescents and Their Community (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Community-Based Service Learning Page

Tips for Combining Project-Based and Service Learning

Service Learning: A Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Assessing Student Projects (book)

The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action (book)

The Good Character Service Learning Primer

Learning to Give (website)

Anchor Collaboratives: Building Bridges With Place-Based Partnerships and Anchor Institutions

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (website)

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters (book)

Cybraryman’s School Business Partnerships Page

The Teacher’s Guide to Service Learning

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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